And We’re Back…

shawshank-redemption

Photo: Warner Bros.

After six days, a successful round of fundraising and a popular article throwing the site offline, the Never Daunted Radio Network is back and better than ever

It’s a good problem to have, so we keep hearing.

In the nearly three years the Never Daunted Radio Network has been in existence, from its early days as a nightly podcast on BlogTalkRadio to it’s move to the very site you’re on right now, we’ve had a loyal, yet humble existence.

During that time, we covered a number of topics, from remembering 10 Cent Beer Night in Cleveland, to remembering women who leave their kids in a parking lot while they give blowjobs in other cars, to examining how racism leaves us all in a societal lurch.

Not only did we have great articles, but we even got better with our podcasts, introducing readers to one of the most popular pornstars on the Web, and saying hi to a remarkable woman who just wanted to cover a coffee table with dick pics.

We’ve covered, the funny, the sexy and the serious, and we did it for a relatively small following, and that was fine.

All that changed on February 16.

Part of making the site live to its full potential always meant expansion. The goal of the Never Daunted Radio Network is to compete with variety blogs like Gawker, complete with separate verticals, the first of which is NDRN Green, headed by Executive Editor Chloe Sommers.

In growing the site, sometimes we had to rattle off some articles that have meaning, but are easily digestible while we work on larger projects.

In the wake of the Grammy Awards and Kendrick Lamar’s stunning performance the night before, I thought a simple write up would be in order, but I was feeling lazy. Of course, I’m never too lazy for snark.

The next day, because the content train must keep moving, I decided to follow through and write “White People Are Having the Worst Black History Month Ever”, a playful title on a serious topic. I knocked the article out in about an hour and, like all my children, set out upon the world.

I thought the title was cheeky, but I had no idea the of the response to come.

Within three hours of its release, we’d broken the best ever page view of 12,550 set by our first-ever contributor, Caitlin Elam, who wrote about the outrage over “Women Against Feminism”.

In three more hours, we would eclipse the total page views of the last two years in total.

By the time the clock struck midnight, we had an article that was shared over 25,000 times via social media and read by nearly 100,000 people.

But we weren’t done. By 2 a.m., there were 5,000 more page views on the article. We were getting shares from far and wide, including a share from Professor Griff of Public Enemy.

And then it stopped.

Sometime before 3 a.m., the site no longer responded, saying that all bandwidth was exhausted. This is something that had happened before, over an issue of photo size, so I didn’t think much of it, expecting to have the site visible by morning, no problem.

My jaw dropped when my site host informed me that we blew past our allotted bandwidth for February by 900 percent. Not 9, not 90, but 900.

The host feared that if our bandwidth was upped, with demand for the article as high as it was, that it would only eat the new bandwidth, but also crash his other sites.

The party was over.

Being a small, nascent site, none of us expected or foresaw such an explosion, so it’s safe to say we were pretty unprepared. More importantly, we were unprepared to meet the cost of a new host that could fit our needs in a short time span.

After discussing the situation with Chloe, I decided to go out on a limb and seek an emergency round of funding to pay for the conversion to a new host.

I figured that we could probably get the $600 we needed in a few days, possibly with the help of family members, but what would happen shocked me even more than the article going viral.

Earlier in the morning, complete strangers were approaching me online asking how they could help get the site back up, telling me what the article meant to them, again, shocking.

Within two hours of the GoFundMe account opening, we were 100 percent funded. By the end of the day, we’d raised $915 of our $600 goal.

Never before had I felt so humbled by the outpouring of support both moral and financial. I was on top of the world, even though we were told that the site wouldn’t be up for 72 hours, which was 70 hours longer than we’d hoped.

Despite the extended time needed for migration, we hoped that the site would be up and running in time to show off our work at the 2016 Capital CannaShow, at a booth graciously donated to us by the organizers. Thousands of people streamed through the doors at the historic Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., and for all the handshakes and potential sponsors, we had no site to show.

Most people were understanding, but it was still a little embarrassing that despite all our recent success, we couldn’t even show off the product that brought us there in the first place.

72 hours quickly turned into six days, and still, we had no site. It was time to bitch.

After some squeaky wheel squeaking, we finally got someone from HostGator to escalate our issue and a couple hours later, here we are.

It’s been an interesting week, filled with interesting people and nothing but amazing amounts of love from friends and strangers who helped the Never Daunted Radio Network usher in a future without limits, furthering our goal in becoming a daily go-to site.

For all of you who helped, the following people were instrumental to this moment, from the inception of the very first podcast in 2013, to ensuring our future going forward, and they should all be recognized.

Dan Dakich

Bryan Coffey

Erick Watt-Udogu

Mike Redmond

Kelsey Ellefson

Darlene Mackey

James Jackson

Bob Jones

Mark Hajduk

Sidney Bosley

Sean Kase

Jeff Armstrong

Doug Brooks

Ryan Debusk

Ronny Sharpes

Besufekad Tadesse

Leah Iannacone

Porter Merriman

Kristina Nguyen

Chase Kimball

Babz Rawls Ivy

LaTonya Winters

Dawn Finley

Merv Matthew

Kelly Wickham Hurst

I also want to take this moment to thank the amazing and generous people who worked and continued to work with me (for virtually nothing) to make this site into something special.

Caitlin Elam

Ed Button

Morgan Hunt

Sara Willis

Lauren Jarema

Last but not least, a gigantic thank you to Executive Editor Chloe Sommers, without who this site would still be a hobby. Her drive and shared passion is a huge part of why this will be your site of choice in the weeks, months and years to come. She’s an amazing human being, and quickly became the grease that helped this machine move.

I don’t know what’s going to happen from here. Try as I might, it’s impossible to tell what articles will go viral, and what articles won’t, but that’s not our job. Our job is to be storytellers first and foremost. Some of those stories will stick, and others, well, they may not.

Regardless, it’s our commitment to deliver you some of the best content you’ll read out on the web, and I hope that if you join us, you stick around to see what this ragtag bunch of media vagabonds can put together for you.

Thanks again for all your support, and the best is absolutely yet to come.


Hashim R. Hathaway (Uncle Shimbo) is the host of the Never Daunted Radio Network, and proud father to NeverDaunted.Net. You can reach him on Twitter @NeverDauntedNet

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